Mozilla News Byte, January 15, 2021
Welcome to the News Byte, an in-depth look at one of the most important stories about the internet this week.
Parler touted itself as the social network that offered its users unbridled free speech “without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views.” But the site’s lax approach to content moderation backfired last week. Apple and Google suspended Parler from their app stores based on concerns about its limited content moderation. Faster than you can say, “just use the website,” Amazon removed Parler’s site from its AWS web servers. Parler says the tech companies’ response was anti-competitive in nature, and outlined this claim in its lawsuit against Amazon.
Here’s what we’re reading about the topic:
- Vox’s Recode: Parler, the “free speech” social network, explained
- Parler’s side of the story, via AP News
Parler says, “[This was] a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace.”
- Amazon’s side of the story, via Business Insider
Amazon says, “This case is about Parler’s demonstrated unwillingness and inability to remove…content that threatens the public safety.”
- Vice’s Motherboard: The Hacker Who Archived Parler Explains How She Did It
“The quick thinking of a self-described hacker by the name of donk_enby and a host of amateur data hoarders preserved more than 56.7 terabytes of data from Parler.”
“‘I hope that it can be used to hold people accountable and to prevent more death,’ [donk_enby] said.
- Gizmodo: Using GPS data to show how Parler users stormed the Capitol
“Gizmodo has mapped nearly 70,000 geo-located Parler posts and on Tuesday isolated hundreds published on January 6 near the Capitol where a mob of pro-Trump supporters had hoped to overturn a democratic election and keep their president in power. The data shows Parler users posting all throughout the day, documenting their march from the National Mall to Capitol Hill where the violent insurrection ensued.”
- WIRED: The Parler Bans Open a New Front in the 'Free Speech' Wars
“Never before have three of the most dominant Silicon Valley corporations — all of them subjects of Congress’s massive antitrust investigation — simultaneously banned a social media platform because they don’t approve of its policies around user speech. They have, in effect, decided that they get to moderate the moderators. And that raises a number of difficult questions.”
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the web...
- The A.V. Club: Welcome to Parlor, the app that everyone’s accidentally downloading instead of Parler
“For now, Parler’s offline. Nature abhors a vacuum, though, and Parlor, an app for talking to strangers online, has rushed to fill Parler’s place, gaining popularity based on the fact that it’s the top result showing up on digital storefronts now that the one spelled with an “e” is down.”